Donnerstag, 15. Dezember 2011

Saudi Arabia: the "good" tyranny

The Western political class is obsessed with Iran and its virtual nuclear programs. But just next door, there exists the highly fundamentalist and brutal regime of the House of Saud. It does not only support almost all radical Islamist movements around the world but has also established a form of intolerant dictatorship the world has never seen before. At the same time, the Saudi regime is very well befriended with the U. S. Empire. These Saudi extremist can behave like madmen internally, but the U. S. government will look the other way. This telling silence is paid for in the currency of oil.

Why does the Obama administration keep mum over death sentences routinely executed by the Saudi regime? Is it because the U. S. also imposes death sentences on a regular basis or Saudi Arabia is considered a good friend or indispensible ally? The latest incidents happened just on December 12, 2011. A woman by the name of Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was beheaded for allegedly practising “witchcraft and sorcery” that does not constitute a crime in the Saudi tyranny. No details concerning the exact charges were given.

According to amnesty international, 73 persons were sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia this year. Such trumped up charges like “sorcery” is often used as a pretext to punish people because they exercise their right of freedom of speech, practise another religion or just demonstrate against Saudi despotism.

The House of Saud and the “House of Bush” are best friends. The relationship between the U. S. elite and the Saudi regime is “ironclad”. That is why the U. S. does not express public criticism of Saudi Arabia´s dismal human rights record, the discrimination of women, disregard of people of another religion and so on. The U. S. also kept silent when the Saudi policemen were “invited “by Bahrain and crushed the protest movement against the despotic Sunni minority regime of the house of al-Khalifa. This despotic regime is also backed by the West which makes them “good despots”. They are therefore allowed to use any means to “keep their house in order”. Their “sovereignty” is respected by the West.

In his book “Quicksand. America´s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East”, Geoffrey Wawro, professor for Military History and director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas, describes U. S. entanglement in the Middle East, solely motivated by the thirst for oil. The author holds that the successive US administrations pursue doctrines that do not match with the reality of the region. Wawro writes that America´s recent efforts to transform the Middle East have gone shockingly sour. He proffers another important argument why the U. S. Saudi relationship went astray: “The birth of Israel and the discovery of vast pools of oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s focused American attention on the Middle East as never before, and wove the Middle East into US domestic politics. American strategy in the Middle East has been muddled and confused over the years because it has been addressed politically, not strategically.”

For a foreign observer, the main problem of the policy of the U. S. Empire is its practice of double standards. It seems that all the “good guys” as they are seen by the U. S. administrations can violate democratic norms for which the “bad guys” like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are severely punished. The next candidates on the U. S. “hit list” are Syria and Iran. But the real problem for America`s credibility is the policy of Israel that violates all norms of international law and human rights. U. S. acceptance of that policy even gets the U. S. government to ignore the Saudi peace plan which envisages full diplomatic relationships and recognition of the State of Israel by all Arab countries.

All the indications emanating from Obama´s policy show that his administration is too weak to make a U-turn in America`s Middle Eastern policy concerning Saudi Arabia and Israel. If the US won´t learn quickly, quicksand may turn into quagmire.

First published here and here.